Review Bengali

Generation Aami review: Engaging treatment, realistic characters bring home the intended message

Cinestaan Rating

Release Date: 23 Nov 2018 / Rated: U

Roushni Sarkar

Through the stories of Apu and Durga, Bhaumik has tried to strike a balance between the extreme perspectives on children's upbringing.

Mainak Bhaumik's film Generation Aami gives out a specific message without many flaws. Bhaumik attempts to bring out the conflicts between generations, their hopes and expectations without many complexities. The characters are archetypal and all serve specific purposes in the story. Also, the film emphasizes upon living every moment to the fullest, no matter how difficult circumstances in life are.

Apu (Rwitobroto Mukherjee) is over protected by his parents. While his mother (Aparajita Adhya) is scared to loose her reign on him, his father (Shantilal Mukherjee) makes sure Apu doesn't deviate from his dream of getting Apu into IT the sector. Apu's mother is always tensed about her son's upbringing as his father is mostly out on official tours. He is also a male chauvinist character who blames his wife for all of their son's shortcomings.

Apu's life takes a new turn when his cousin Durga (Sauraseni Maitra) comes to stay with them from Delhi. Durga suffers from clinical depression and her parents have apparently sent her to Kolkata for treatment. It is gradually revealed that Durga has grown up in a milieu that is in complete contrast with that of Apu's.

As Durga has hardly had the sense of being protected by loved ones, she lives life in her own terms and doesn't trust anybody. Apu, on the other hand, doesn't know how to live life on his own terms. For him, his parents' words mean the end of the world. Apu's trust in Durga gradually breaks the ice between them. Durga begins to inspire Apu to find his own means of joy amidst the most difficult circumstances. Apu showers care on her, forming a space of trust for her.

Apu dreams of becoming a songwriter and wishes to go on a date with his school-crush Piya. Durga weaves her dreams around Sourav, who she imagines to be in love with. However, Apu's father is against his dreams of building a career in music and Durga's parents want to get rid of their responsibilities by marrying her off as soon as possible. How do the siblings eventually help each other in their respective dreams? Do the parents ever attempt to see beyond their expectations and perspectives to realise their kids' dreams?

Bhaumik has intentionally picked up character names from Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali (1955) to lend more focus into the bond shared by the brother and sister, who eventually become best friends. Their equation is brought out quite genuinely against their complicated backgrounds. It is also quite heart-warming to see the siblings trying to stick to each other and give their best to make the other happy.

Bhaumik lends more complexities to the character of Durga to serve a bigger purpose than only bringing change in Apu's life. Durga eventually shakes every being around her and her journey in the film turns out to be the eye-opener for everybody.

However, all the characters are easy to relate to as they exist around us in our society. Though the parents largely remain oblivious to their children's dreams and worlds, they are not necessarily villains. They have their own frustrations to deal with. The burdens in their lives have robbed the little joys and hence, they focus more on the security of their children than their happiness.

Bhaumik has also attempted to explore the reasons for which social media becomes the means to reach out to the world beyond restrictions. The climax sequence, in which both Apu and his father place their arguments to prove their points is composed with a realistic approach. None of them emerge victorious, rather Bhaumik shows both, Apu and his father, to be victims of circumstances.

However, Bhaumik brings sudden transformations in Apu's parents only for the sake of bringing a positive message out of the film. Also, Durga's parents are sketched to be overtly superficial and Apu's mother seems to be unnecessarily aggressive at times, despite having genuine motherly instincts.

Rwitobroto Mukherjee is not only consistently natural in his performance but delivers nuanced expressions when it comes intense emotional moments. Sauraseni Maitra is convincing as the complex character who pretends to be strong but is soft and vulnerable at heart, and is quite clearly a pessimist.

Aparajita Adhya suits well into the character of a tensed woman who is always struggling to fulfil her duties as a mother and a wife. Though he has a brief appearance, Shantilal Mukherjee delivers a strong performance as the stereotypical, insecure father-figure in a middle class family.

Manoj Karmakar mostly captures the intense emotional moments in close-ups with perfection.

Bhaumik and co-editor Amir Mondal's composition of some of the sequences suggesting both Apu and Durga's freedom, deserves special mention. Arindam Bhattacharya's background score at times syncs well with the mood of the film, and sometimes over-powers it.

Bhaumik's success lies in weaving a linear yet an engaging narrative out of a few characters from our familiar circumstances. Despite the story's predictability, the director manages to grip the audience with his vision and dialogues.

Generation Aami is mostly entertaining and an essential watch for those who live in similar situations. Through the stories of Apu and Durga, Bhaumik has tried to strike a balance between the extreme perspectives on children's upbringing.

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